The McCluney Lab focuses on effects of environmental variation (natural or anthropogenic) on animal ecology. We integrate physiological and ecological approaches to understand the dynamics of populations, communities, and ecosystems, with a focus on aquatic, riparian, and terrestrial and urban environments across the US. Our work investigates basic ecological questions that have importance for achieving sustainable environmental management in a changing world.

Our key research areas include:

1. Ecological Implications of Animal Water Balance (Water Webs)

We are studying the direct effects of animal water balance (sources and losses) on trophic interactions and food webs (which we have named “water webs”). For instance, previous work has shown that spiders and crickets will “drink” their food under dry conditions, consuming large amounts in order to meet water requirements rather than energy or nutrients.

2. Water Quantity and Quality Effects on Aquatic-Terrestrial Linkages

We study how changes in water quantity and quality influences the reciprocal feedbacks between adjacent aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. For instance, we have shown strong effects of river drying on streamside animals. We are also investigating the influence of variation in macronutrients, like phosphate, or trace chemicals, like caffeine, on rates of emergence of aquatic insects and how changes to fluxes influence streamside spiders and birds. Additionally, we have been getting increasingly involved in projects aimed at tracing nutrient sources (using isotopes) and reducing nutrient fluxes from farms, to watersheds, to lakes.

3. Urbanization and Climate Change

People are increasingly moving to cities and altering those environments. Cities in mesic regions become warmer and drier in ways that can mimic the projected effects of climate change. On the other hand, parts of cities in xeric regions become wetter and sometimes cooler. We are studying how alteration of environmental factors in cities influences animal ecology in ways that may indicate potential effects of climate change. Moreover, our research aims to inform management decisions in cities that could maximize ecosystem services and minimize disservices in the places where most people now live.

4. Understanding Ecological Fluctuations at Multiple Scales

What controls fluctuations in ecological systems across spatial scales? This is a fundamental question in ecology with important consequences for species conservation, pest management, and the delivery of ecosystem services. We are investigating the network of mechanisms controlling ecological fluctuations across spatial scales, study systems, and levels of organization.

Read more on our research page.

MS and PhD student positions are available!

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McCluney Lab
Kevin McCluney
Bowling Green State University

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